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Software for Specialized Outpatient Care

Employee Health Departments: Managing Information to Keep Employees Safe

OSHA reports that 4,405 workers died on the job in 2013. The Secretary of Labor, Thomas E. Perez, stated, “No one should have to sacrifice their life for their livelihood, because a nation built on the dignity of work must provide safe working conditions for its people”. Working toward this effort, OSHA requires tracking of specific work-related injuries and illnesses that result in death, loss of consciousness, days away from work, restricted work activity or job transfer, and/or medical treatment beyond first aid.

As of January 1, 2015, OSHA requires that all employers must report the following;

  • Death of any worker from a work-related incident within 8 hours of learning about it;
  • All work-related inpatient hospitalizations, amputations, and losses of an eye within 24 hours.

Employers are also required to track needle stick injuries, tuberculosis infection with positive skin tests, specified audiogram results, and any case requiring an employee to be medically removed under the requirements of an OSHA standard.

In order to support OSHA’s mission, Occupational Medicine and Employee Health programs are required to use screening tools and run surveillance reports. Screening tools are used to identify diseases and provide early treatment, while surveillance reports identify trends and problems that may be occurring in the workplace and require targeted prevention efforts.

Solid and efficient processes must be in place for record keeping and reporting of work-related injuries and illnesses by employee health programs. Within 7 calendar days after a work related incident is reviewed OSHA mandates that the case be deemed recordable or not. Simultaneously, a decision must be made whether the incident is a new case or a recurrence of an existing one. If it’s determined that the case is recordable, an appropriate form such as the injury and illness incident report should be completed. Those incidents that are OSHA recordable are reflected on the OSHA log that must be posted in a visible location so that employees are aware of injuries and illnesses occurring in their workplace. The log must be posted between February 1st and April 30th of the current year.

Beyond OSHA reporting, surveillance activities are a large part of an employee health clinic’s daily activities. As we all witnessed, the Ebola crisis placed screening and surveillance at the forefront with guidance from the CDC that led clinics to add additional surveillance and reporting activities to their already long list. Reports can be shared with various committees within your facility, such as The Bloodborne Pathogen Committee, Safe Patient Handling Committee, Patient Steering Committee, Infection Control Committee, just to name a few.

Mary Bliss, RN, COHN, Coordinator of Employee Health Services at Unitypoint Health in Peoria, IL states, “It is critical in our fast paced jobs to be able to have a system that is specific to Employee Health/Occupational Health. As Government regulatory requirements are constantly changing, we need a system that is easy to use, adaptable to our needs, and will provide reporting and documentation to meet these requirements. The Governing Bodies within the Hospital setting also require reports that show trending, process improvement, and outcomes. Having a system that tracks this type of data helps make our jobs easier as we provide this data to our Organizational Leadership.”

If you have regulatory questions related to this quarter’s content please feel free to contact me at 800-411-6281, ext. 53074 or scougras@nhsinc.com.

Sheila Cougras, RN, BSN, CWCN